September 27, 2012
Looking back at our wonderful three months, what were the highlights and what would be do differently next year….
811 nautical miles.
71 engine hours, 33 generator hours.
13 nights at anchor, 10 nights ‘free’ at a restaurant buoy, 22 nights at paid buoys and 34 at marinas (4 through faulty equipment and 20 influenced by bad weather and illness).Only once did we stay 3 consecutive nights in one anchorage, with some longer stays at marinas.
We loved The Nature and the sailing. Whilst the blog is full of whinging that the wind direction wasn’t too my liking, it was seldom so light that we had to motor for more than an hour, and only a few times sent us into port to avoid the worst of a Bora. The islands are fantastic, the water clear and inviting. The Croatian people are nearly universally friendly and welcoming. One of the few exceptions is supermarket ladies – who would give the Chatswood yum cha trolley pusher ladies a test in the grumpy stakes. We’d never had Croatian wine before, and were happily surprised at how good it is, and how good the cheap house wine is. The food was great, especially the seafood and lamb. Cost of living is much cheaper than the Baltic, or home, though we did end up eating out more than last year.
The food is sooo samey. In the end we were craving some variety. Next year we are taking along some mexican and asian flavours. AND wasabi. Shouldn’t complain about the weather, but we had a very long hot summer, even the locals agreed. It was mid 30’s every day for until 1st September, which was a bit too hot when the humidity was high as well. We were after a relaxing year, and still found ourselves moving on after only 1 or 2 nights, and beating into a headwind all day to get from A to B. Next year we will really chill….. Marinas are expensive and we paid anywhere from 100 to 300 kn for a night on a buoy. We were never charged for dropping our own anchor, though some places can charge for this.
I will only say fat naked Germans here.
Especially when they are bending over.
September 21, 2012
A last few chores and time to leave Solero.
The dinghy comes out of the water with arrangements to redo our patching job (we knew it was dodgy without the right glue, but worked for long enough) and service the outboard engine. Thank god we don’t have to lift them up onto the boat, now its 4.5 m in the air to the deck, as Nautika Zadar can store them for us once the work is done.
We have arranged with Nautika Zadar to do our wintering work and he seems very switched on as we go over the jobs to be done. Mostly we have found service providers slow/unable to get back to emails or reluctant to put a quote in writing (my suspicion is that would like to see how new and expensive your boat is before they quote). So Kreso is a breath of fresh air. We spent the last week in the water with his office at the head of our pier, and he has always been happy for us to drop in and ask more questions, ever ready with an expresso. He’s a tall man, imposing figure and booming voice (but very nice and friendly) who makes epressos in the Italian way, in a tiny tiny cup – looks way too small in his hands.
With everything done that we can think of to do, its time to put up the transom, zip up the cover and walk away with some lingering glances behind us and fingers crossed whe will winter well, without too many strong Bora’s to concern us.
And now a digression from a sailing blog, but will give a few details of our journey home.
Next part of the journey was flying to Munich – which required 3 flights ! Zadar to Pula, Pula to Zagreb, then Zagreb to Munich. All to go a few hundred miles.
Saturday is Oktoberfest opening day, and we get to the march early enough for a front row spot as the colourful parade starts. Dozens of horse drawn brewery carts with their (now unused) wooden beer barrels. The horses are lovely. Some of the carts are full of people drinking from their beer steins and waving to the crowds. There are bands and clowns and whip crackers – we were mighty close to one lot, about 2 m from one fellow, but he had measured it up well and we kept all our hair.
Thence to the main arena and into some beer drinking. We squeezed into a tent despite having no reservation, and had a couple of beers each and some lunch. The guys next door started snorting what I thought was tobacco snuff. But turns out to be a brown menthol type substance which cleared the nose, at least we assume it was legal !!
Courtesy of some rain, we were able to get into the beer garden of one of the HUGE tents (Sparten in this case), just as it finished and they were drying the tables and benches. We sat near a heater and found ourselves near a bunch of very wet (and pretty drunk) Poms from Liverpool. We had a lot of fun at each others’ expense, but we made our goodbyes after one of them lost a second drinking game to an American who had joined us….it was going to get ugly.
We had a stop over in Bangkok on the way home – think shopping, eating SPICYTHAIFOOD, massages, more shopping. The hotel we booked at was full, so they upgraded us to a suite !! At least we had somewhere to put all the shopping.
Now on our last leg home,and very much looking forward to seeing Reggie again – with apologies to any family members who might have liked a mention above Reg !
September 12, 2012
SADLY it’s our last day of sailing. We were planning to go to Marina Dalmacija on Sunday to start our cleaning up, removing sails etc etc etc before lift out on Wednesday. BUT the weather gods are not being kind and there is a big southerly forecast for this afternoon, followed by a 180 degrees swing and then 2 or 3 days of Bora from the north east. So we decide to head in early. It will give us more time to get our jobs done, and as we are doing more of the work ourselves this year we are not sure how long it will all take. Besides, Dave will have more mornings to visit the girl at the bread shop for his morning Burek (filo pastry with cheese or savoury mince filling) who he fancies – especially since she gave him a free roll last time after his daily visits. Only a bread roll mind you, not the roll-in-the-hay roll that he fantasizes about.
Thursday is my birthday, so I am treated like a princess and have a sleep in, massage, foot rub, breakfast in bed, day off all boat chores and cooking, then dinner out at the restaurant of my choice….. Oh, come on !!! Get real! Only ONE of those things ACTUALLY happened – the dinner out. One has to have a bit of peka on one’s birthday, and so I did. We managed to find a restaurant serving lamb under the peka/bell and booked in at Konoba Griblja. Delicious. After trudging all the way (2km) in the rain we got the waitresses to laugh when we said “We might have a table INSIDE today”. In fact their menu is a lot more varied than the usual and we must go back and try some other dishes. Variety is a rare thing on Croatian menus. Oh, and I got to have a BOTTLE of red wine, instead of the usual House Giraffe.
Still very windy, though the rain stops in the afternoon for a while. The highlight of the day is sitting on the end of our pier, across the marina from all the charter piers and have a beer or two, watching all the charterers come in to berth in the strong winds. Hillarious. How they managed to avoid major impacts I do not know. Another example of a boat managing to go down the channel sideways was seen – quite the achievement. At least when they bugger it up and spear another boat, its only another charter boat. That’s what insurance is for. Dave’s favourite was the boat who went screaming down the channel with a tail wind in forward direction, then realised that reversing in is better since you want to end end up stern to the dock, so started reversing out. Half way through that changed his mind again and thought he could have another go, so back to going forward. Then changed his mind AGAIN and tried to reverse. But Mother Nature had her hands on him by then and the wind had blown him down onto the mooring ropes of other boats. And there he stayed until a marino came in a big dinghy to tow him off.
Two beers each : about $6.00
Two hours off boat chores : has to be made up later
Two hours of watching charterers stuff up their docking : Priceless !!!
Much discussion has been had about whether to leave and come back Sunday and at least salvage one night in an anchorage instead of the marina. But we have heard from the hatch manufacturers that the man they are sending from Denmark will be here on Sunday to fix our hatches (the glue keeping the gas struts onto the Perspex has failed on 5 or our 8 hatches, and is the subject of a product recall/repair). Whilst we are a little surprised at them coming on a Sunday because we told them we wouldn’t be here till Monday, and are even more surprised by a phone call early Saturday saying “ I have parked my car next to your pier, can I come to your boat now?” So just as well we had decided to stay put. Next year we will be able to use our hatches and the insect screens- a bonus.
Nothing exciting happened. More boat chores. Walked into town to go to Restaurant Griblja again, only to find it was closed for the night. So we ate at the (ex)prison again, but back to the usual suspect – risotto nero, mussels with a delicious garlic sauce, with, I think, some fresh bread crumbs to thcken it up, and Dave has a nicely cooked steak.
Ditto. Got our sails washed, dried, and stowed – that’s a big job done.
Pretty much ditto. Though I did enjoy Dave’s effort when coiling our washed genoa sheets (ropes for you non-yachty types), which had been getting stiff before their wash.
Dave : “These seem to be developing a memory”
Dee : “That’s funny. I bet they can’t remember you EVER having coiled them before”
Got ya. Dave likes making the mess, and its my job to keep all the ropes and lines neatly coiled etc etc. Just like home really…
Wednesday : We are lifted out of the water this morning for our storage on land. A nervous time, as we haven’t seen her out of the water before – she’s always come out after we go home and gone back in before we’ve arrived back the next season. We have to reverse into the dock, then the crane straps are positioned, then up they hoist, and you cross your fingers and hope they have them in the right spots……
All good this time. A pressure wash, then its off to our wintering position – all done in less than an hour. Now we have to climb up a ladder and clamber on board to do our chores.
It is forecast to rain tomorrow, when we had arranged for our new cover to be fitted, so the guys come today and she is a beauty. We are 9 months a year not on the boat, so this will really save a lot of dirt and weather/UV etc for Solero. Fits very well, and has some ventilation channels too. Very well made by Argola in Biograd – but not cheap !! It will be worth it over the years.
More washing, cleaning, run through the pumps and tanks, pick up the laundry, defrost the fridge etc etc. I drop off my basil and left over fridge things to Louise (an Aussie living on board with husband Ron and 12yo daughter Katarina – they bought a second hand Sunbeam 44 this year), their hospitality spoils our chores effort for the rest of the day, after we have a beer or 3 with them. Their boat dealer also owns a local restaurant, and we head there for dinner together with Cam and Anne (also Victorians who have bought a boat this year - theirs is a Bavaria 46 – who will be wintering their boat at Marina Dalmacija in a couple of weeks when their season is over). SURPRISESURPRISE !!! A mexican dish on the menu. Whilst not completely authentic its good enough for us for a change. Sadly Dave will live to regret me eating all those refried beans…..
September 11, 2012
The day starts with a walk ashore , past hundreds of ancient olive trees. Mostly well kept and obviously still producing olive oil, though there are a few overtaken by a creeper, I wonder who should be looking after them. Breakfast is some figs I find along the way – there are so many fig trees here that the birds must get sick of eating figs and the fruit often rots on the trees – what a waste !!!!
Once we have a bit of wind we depart for the bay of Lucina (near Brbinje) as we HAVE to revisit one of our favourite restaurants, Bepo. After picking up our buoy (we are the only ones in the bay) we walk over the isthmus to the town of Brbinje to our south. It is a much larger bay and has plenty of buoys in 2 coves, this time with a second line off the bouy which is tied to a tree ashore (though the state of the ropes doesn’t inspire confidence). The buoys can be much closer together this way as you don’t swing 360 degrees around it, and Dave is glad we went back to the northern bay when we see the 3 old fat German men completely starkers on their fly bridge. Who would want to moor next to that ??
Dinner at Bepo is fantastic again. Just the cook and his wife, cheap outdoor furniture, no airs or graces. But boy, he can cook. Despite the fact we are now getting quite sick of calamari and grilled fish, we reorder the same meal we had last time -grilled calamari and grilled fish smothered in EVO and garlic – and are not disappointed. Still the best we’ve had. House white and red quite acceptable too for $10/L.
September 10, 2012
We join Carolyn, Paddy, Lesley and Bob for a walk onshore to the nearby (and apparently healing ) salt lake. It doesn’t seem much saltier than the sea (already more salty than our ocean because of evaporation), and the mud isn’t smelly enough to have great claims to health giving properties, though we do take the waters just in case. We have frequently seen little rock ‘cairns’ often at the top of hills etc both here and Scandinavia in previous years, but nothing like the field of them at the south end of the lake – there is no shortage of appropriately sized flatish rocks to stack, so visitors have gone ballistic. Time for a coffee together then sadly we part company. Paddy and Carolyn will be on board till November, while we are nearly packing up to go home, so we are a bit jealous of them.
In the afternoon its time to leave Telascica. We really enjoyed our stay (first time we have had 3 nights in one spot except for marinas in bad weathers), and glad we came out here after missing it on our way south earlier in the year. It confirms our love of Fridays (charter boats in port) and Saturdays if you are far enough away from the mainland coast – as they can only get 2 or 3 hours of travel done Saturday afternoon. Bliss.
Pleasant wind for the afternoon and we go to Rava and pick up a buoy there. The water is very clear and there are hundreds of fish of reasonable size around the boat. We take the dinghy to the nearby bay for dinner at the one restaurant. Dave walks in first and the lady ‘hostess’ says bluntly “Do you want to eat?” then “what do you want?”. I haven’t climbed the stairs yet, Dave is still standing up in the entrance way, andit seems there is no menu, with the other guests having ordered their dishes when they booked – we just turned up, and it seems its not the way they do things here.
Eventually we negotiate some fried calamari and a meat platter. The calamari has tons of flavour but a little too chewy. The local red wine washes it down well though.
September 07, 2012
Oh to be out and about at last ! We are now feeling well, the rain has stopped, a last visit to the market and some fresh bread and we can be off. The forecast is great, NE winds as we head south then west to Telascica. Easy day, since we are a little out of condition. But you know sailing …… after the first hour the wind picks up and comes from the NW, so we are working all the way from there. We consider a different destination, but missed this area on the way south. It is a huge bay, nearly 4 NM long, but indented with places to shelter, and a National Park. It costs 60kn/pp/per night and there are plenty of buoys to pick up. We LOVE Friday nights and Saturday mornings, as the charterers are in marinas on the mainland and anchorages are blissfully quiet. In fact, as we are a good 4 hours or so from the mainland, even Saturday evening only adds a couple of charter boats to our number.
We do the first roast of the season, chicken, served with a cous cous salad – yumm. Dave is even able to join me in a bottle of wine after several days of abstinence – his liver will be wondering what has been going on.
Time to head ashore, stretch the legs and do some exploring. As we take the cover off the dinghy (which has been on deck since we left Hijaca) we find a rock must have made a 10cm slash in one hull and it is now flat. The rocks here are usually very sharp along the edges of the bays, and if you can’t land at a man made pier it’s a risky business. Out with the repair kit – it is so old the glue is off. We have some epoxy glue, which isn’t the right stuff to use, but we give it a go as we have nothing else and don’t intend going back to the mainland yet. Shame we didn’t notice in the week we were sitting in Biograd – it seemed ok when we put the cover on. Now we have the day on the boat, as the glue takes 24 hours to set. Dinner is chorizo with grilled vegies.
At last, a walk. We head ashore and walk for 10 km around the top of the bay and back, to see the other anchorage areas. Lots of reading, a bit of swimming and there goes another day. We saw an Aussie boat arrive yesterday and go to the other side of the bay, so I dinghy over to get their story. Paddy and Caroline have been living aboard their boat for 9 years, and in the Med since 2009. This is their first time in Croatia and we have a great chat over a sundowner, together with their friends on board, Leslie and Bob. Chef Dave has to stay behind and watch the roast pork cooking. Which was delicious, so he did a good job of it while I was away socialising.
September 01, 2012
The forecast is for a screaming southerly this afternoon of up to 40 knots. Our friend Ollie is on the mainland in Zadar, so we head off to nearby Biograd to pick him up. He’s been tripping around Croatia since he left us in Hvar.
The fuel dock at Biograd has no one waiting as we come past, so we fill up for the first time this year. It takes 110 L , not bad in more than 2 months of being on board, as we use 2 or 3 L/hr and have therefore been fairly successful in our efforts to sail everywhere, rather than motor. The charter boats stream in all day, providing the usual arrival amusements, as tomorrow morning is change over day. Later in the day when we wander past the fuel dock there is a queue of at least 10 boats !
A quiet night on board, this time I am the victor at cards. Now what shall I do with 60 toothpicks ???
Oh my god! About 10 spots of rain last night. Not enough to really qualify as the 3rd day of rain for us since the 23rd June- sorry to all my cold, wet Aussie readers.
A dose of gastro is going through (quite literally) the crew, and we are all a bit low today, except Ollie – who has rejoined the boat, just to find us all poorly and quiet.
We are at the very end of a pontoon, as the charter boats have filled up their usual spots closer in. It means we all have to perfect the 200m dash for the loo – Olympic record could be in the offing
Ollie is off today (bored to death, no doubt) and we take the opportunity to hire a car and see a few inland attractions after taking him to the airport.
Car hire here is a revelation. Our VW golf arrives, he apologises for not having it washed – normally no big deal, but its so dusty here I can hardly see out of the windows, the fuel tank is less than a quarter full, two alarm lights are lit up on the dash, but with no car manual, we can only assume its ok to proceed. Though when the low oil light goes on an our later, we do fill it up !!
We are all amazed they even bother to paint centre lines on their roads. Other drivers seem to love sticking a foot or more on my side of the centre line, more so if its a good blind corner. We nearly collect a motor bike who overtakes come what may. It is fun doing 140km/hr on the freeways (speed limit 130km/hr) and being overtaken by all the audis and BMW’s flying by. The speed limit seems discretionary everywhere.
We are now familiar with several of the highway toilet stops.
The highlight is the Krka falls, where we spend a night. It was the site of the world’s second hydroelectric plant, missing out by only 2 days to be the first. Though, as we are now familiar with these tourist notices, where no one wants to be second, they were the FIRST to get that power to the streetlights of the nearby town, in this case Sibenik.
We manage to drop the car off and get back to the boat just as a great storm comes through – great Scandinavian weather, so Dave gets out the swedish meatballs for lunch.
Tuesday : I feel worse today, Dave is still crook. Doug has improved and is the one bright light amongst us. We manage to go to the town beach for a swim in the afternoon.
Doug flies out today and we say a sad goodbye. A pity our last few days were not the best.
Dave and I can’t be bothered moving, and its rain again today, so we will see tomorrow about leaving Biograd.
I’m feeling much better, but Dave is still crook, so we will have another day in Biograd.
I topped up the kindle yesterday with heaps of Sherlock Holmes, so I have Plenty to read at least.
The wind is blowing 25 knots and the charterers keep us amused as they come in- Special Award to the guy who went from forward to reverse to forward about 20 times without the boat actually going anywhere, or getting steerage, then went nearly sideways down the space between pontoons. The marino was shaking his head, and he must see a lot of idiots!!!!
Hope we can get back out to the islands tomorrow . Come on Dave, have a cup of cement – that should firm things up a bit!!
August 29, 2012
Today we head back to one of our favourite places, Hijaca Bay. We pick up a buoy of Restaurant Zmara. While we had 3 to choose from mid afternoon, the rest are rapidly taken up by arriving boats, its a popular spot. We are going to have 2 nights here, so that we can have a relaxing day tomorrow with lunch at the restaurant. We remember the very fat beagle who toured the tables looking for scraps (obviously fairly successfully) and she was very friendly as we had a beer ashore in the afternoon. Sausage and mushroom risotto on board for dinner.
Lazy day. Went for a walk ashore, lunch ashore and a long afternoon nap. Very pleasant indeed. Managed a little of Dave’s spag bog for dinner.
August 28, 2012
Into the wind all the way today and covered 23 NM to Tratinska Bay.
Picked up a buoy (300kn – “these are the best mooring buoys in Croatia. 3200kg, with insurance for 50,000 euro. You will be very happy here” says the mooring man. ’
The water is cool, and very clear, so great for swimming.
We do go ashore to the nearest (and newest) restaurant – Tratinska – for our dinner. Can we have the fish stew ? No sorry we have not the fish for that stew.
Can we have the fish soup ? No, as I say, no fish for that either.
What is in the sauce for Beefsteak with sauce ? No, we have no beefsteak, only the meat platter.
Can we get flask of the house red wine? Sorry, we have no house red wine, only the bottles.
Luckily the food was good, but they could scrap the menu cards and just write what the DO have, it would be easier.
The next morning the early risers (where’s Dave? Zzzzz) hike up the hill towards a flag pole. At times we have to walk atop the stone walls. At the top we find 4 gun emplacements, with tunnels and trenches cross crossing the area. Some 1944 graffiti identifies which war it concerned.
August 26, 2012
Finally we can prove to Doug that this is a sail boat. We have good winds today and go downwind to the old town of Primosten, situated on a small island now joined by a causeway to the mainland. There are plenty of buoys in the harbour, as well as a breakwall to moor to. But a Bora is forecast (35 to 65 knot wind) and we would like to be more secure in the nearby Marina Kremik, so we head back there to tie up. This is the only marina we have been to where you tie up alongside a finger pontoon (this is the norm in Australia). This makes docking much easier and we can have the nose of the boat to the main quay and therefore into the wind when the Bora comes, and use the side gates to get on and off. The gap between quays is much larger than we are used to as well, so a great marina to use.
We catch a taxi into Primosten to see all the boats in that harbour bobbing around like corks as the Bora has created quite a swell. Good decision team to use the marina. We spot one late arriving boat spending over an hour trying to find somewhere to berth.
Keen for a haircut, my hopes are dashed as we realise it’s a Sunday.
An old mamma is successful with her spruiking and we eat in an old stone building at the family run restaurant – the ubiquitous grilled fish is still delicious, but I am keen for a change in the menu. I’d kill for a Japanese restaurant, or thai, or indian, or anything different.
Quiet morning. Go up to the café for a cappuccino and excuse to use the internet, and who do I see??? We only know 2 or 3 local people, but here is Miha – the Slovenia and Croatia X-yacht dealer who put our boat back together after its journey by truck to Slovenia in June. He is with his family just finishing his summer holiday. It’s great to catch up with him and meet his lovely wife and kids. To add to the co-incidences we are recounting the story of the boat with the missing keel and the story of its crew getting a leg stuck in the winch story – and they were at the regatta when it happened in 2009 !!!
It’s time to go into town and get my overdue hair cut. We looked yesterday of course, but it was Sunday , so no luck.
As we get in the taxi (50 kuna) we ask for “Friskerski for me” and do the old snip snip signal with my hair. After a minute the driver looks round at Dougie (our long haired friend) and says “For him too?” ha ha ha
We arrive at the Friskerski at 15:00 and it is of course closed till 17:00. Never mind, we can have a couple of beers and wait.
2 rounds of beers = 55 @ = 110 kuna
I get bored and go shopping = 1 T-shirt and a motor and pestle = 205 kuna
While I’m shopping, another beer each for the boys = 40 kuna
While my hair is cut, another beer each = 40 kuna
They have just ordered another beer as I get back = 40 kuna, plus a cocktail for me = 50 kuna. All done, taxi home = 50 kuna.
I’m so happy, my hair cut is as cheap as cheap could be = 50 kuna.
But total cost = 495 kuna for a 50 kuna haircut.
Dave’s turn to cook and we have a Thai red curry – delicious, then the boys wipe me out at cards.